Saturday, August 29, 2009

Embedding Awesomeness

These past couple of weeks has been super hectic! Getting ready for back-to-school for two teenagers is not for the faint of heart! Clothes and school supply shopping took a couple of days. My daughter received her driver’s license and started her senior year of high school. I have played taxi to my son, getting him back and forth to football practice each day. We are still trying to find a reliable used car for my daughter – it is amazing what some people are trying to sell as “reliable”. The most exciting news is that we finally bought a house. We are supposed to close September 14th; keeping fingers crossed there are no named storms in the Atlantic. Without homeowners insurance we are unable to close, and insurance companies will not write any policies with a named stormed present. Whew!

I was able to squeeze in some time to play with some melt and pour soap. My results are pictured to the left and right. I have to say that I am usually a cold process soap person and find CP much easier then melt and pour. I have much respect for those who are able to create works of art with melt and pour. Some time ago, I saw the coolest project on Soap Queen TV. I broke up this project into two days and have to say that I am very happy with the results. If you would like to create this super cool bar of soap, Anne-Marie (Soap Queen) gives great instruction below. Thank you for such a cool idea.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Need to Brand Part 1

Branding is the bane of my existence. Ok, maybe I am being a little dramatic; however, after making and selling soaps (and other Bath and Beauty products) I have been all over the place. Consistency with color, material, texture, font, and logo is not a strong point with me. I have yet to find a “look” that satisfies.

Packaging for my CP soaps has seen many different looks. They have gone naked, cigar bans, shrink-wrap sleeves with cigar bands, shrink wrapped sleeves with labels, soapboxes with label, tied with fabric / tulle, and stuffed in organza bags. My newest “look” consists of a shrink-wrap sleeve with cigar band wrapped the long way.

Lotions, body butters, sugar scrubs, lip balms have all seen their share of change. Packaging for these products are usually dramatic changes. My lotions have seen bullet, rounds, cylinders, clear, natural, cobalt, and purple bottles…. Whew! Body butters went from tins to plastic jars. Lip balms from cobalt, natural, clear tubes. I think you get the picture.
So I am a bit inconsistent and lacking any sense of branding. I had one customer say, "You don't carry your Body Butter anymore?" The body butter was clearly sitting on the table, but I had changed the packaging and labeling.
I would not write this blog without having some sort of solution to my delimma. My first baby step will be to pick a pallet of three to four cordinating colors that I can choice when I create labels. Next step is to commit to a logo.

I have much brain storming ahead of me.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Farmers Market

My son and I spent the day at the local Farmers Market selling my homemade soaps, meeting new people, and having wonderful conversation with the neighboring vendors. Due to the intense heat and humidity, the markets are not bringing out the copious amount of people that usually gather. Come late September this will change, and the crowds will gather once again, this is the norm for Florida; our off-season is summer.

Our local farmers market sells the greenest, crispest, flavorful produce. These vegetables are less expensive and fresher then you could find in any grocery store. The fruit is just as delicious: crisp red apples, blueberries galorethe biggest juiciest SWEET grapefruits you could hope.

Variety is the spice of life, and our local Farmers Market does deliver variety. Local honey, homemade perogies, British meat pies, the best BBQ homemade sauce that has been in the family for over 40 years!, to die for homemade cookies, cakes, bread, approved Audubon Society hand-crafted bird houses, Amish Cheeses, fresh herbs, plants, orchids, homemade natural dog / cat treats… and the list goes on.

A few times a month there is live music and each week a cooking demonstration by some impressive culinary chefs with free sampling and a recipe card. The atmosphere is relaxing with plenty of sitting with umbrellas to enjoy the food, drink, people, and scenery. I have vended at this farmers market since the birth over a year ago. I have to remind myself that even though it is off-season this market has been good to me with repeat customers, a couple of wholesale accounts, and the most invaluable “word of mouth”.

Buying from your local farmers market benefits you with fresh fruits and vegetables, meeting interesting people, and supporting local farmers and crafters.

How many of you support your local farmers market?

P.S. A BIG thank you to my 14 year old son who took all but two of these AWESOME pictures for me!!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Missed Opportunities

Hope everyone had a fantastic weekend. I survived chaperoning my daughters’ 17th birthday party. We rented out a clubhouse for the 30+ guests and half way through the party, I realized this was a missed opportunity. It would have been so easy to put together a “promotional bag” regarding my homemade soaps, brand new blog, and upcoming launch of my websites, a special coupon, and a sample-sized bar of soap to give out to all the guests, including parents that stayed and enjoyed the night with us.

This made me reflect back on other opportunities I may have missed and how I can prepare myself not to miss another chance to promote myself. I decided that these promotional bags should be available for me to grab for any opportunity at any time. I have plans to make fifty or so bags to have on hand – this way I can just grab and go. I am confidante that this plan will help turn more missed opportunities into promotionally opportunities.